I’m not going to lie, this long, dark, cold stretch between the holidays and Spring feels like a foreboding line from Game of Thrones… you know something about the long dark night, or the more infamous one… “Winter is coming”. Well Winter is here and it can be a real drag. Gabi wrote about beating the post-holiday blues a few weeks ago, but what happens when you can no longer classify your blues as post-holiday? I know I have been having days where I wake up and I just feel this groundhog’s day anxiety of s.s.d.d. Well, I wanted to share 7 simple and quick ways to boost your mood that have really helped to take the monotony out of these short, chilly days.
Now this is coming from the world’s most inflexible person in the entire world, but there is a reason it is numero uno. Stretching, even for five minutes, increases your range of motion, blood flow, heals and prevents back pain, improves posture, and reduces stress. I wish I would have understood the power of stretching when I was 15 and my track coach was pressing down on my back trying to get me to touch my toes. But alas, instead I just silently placed 1,000 curses on her house for it. So a little belated thanks to Coach B out there, thanks for trying (and failing) to get my 20 digits to get together once in a while.
2. Reorganize a cluttered space
Aight, so may seem like a shameless plug for the hype around Marie Kondo right now and also kinda pulling from Gabi’s blog, but unless you are a bonafide hoarder, no one likes clutter. I can’t even relay the sheer joy I get from simply organizing underneath my bathroom sink. The simplicity of placing your stuff in categorized bins can do wonders for a space and might even help you feel like your mind has been organized a little as well.
3. Get outside
But it’s cold, Dani!! I know, I know. But studies show that even 10 minutes of fresh air a day can clean your lungs, clear your mind, improve blood pressure, and strengthens your digestive and immune systems. AKA fresh air is good for you. Even if it's standing outside your door for a few deep breaths, try to get out a few times today.
4. Dance it out
Taking a page from my person, Meredith Gray’s book here. When I am knee deep in stress, my number one thing I do to turn my mood around is to pick a song that inspires me to move, crank it up, close my eyes and dance around. Sure my dogs think I’ve gone certifiably insane and if someone videotaped me I could rival Elaine from Seinfeld in my non-dancing skills, but it helps. Truly, this should be number one on the list. Nothing puts you in a good mood like letting a good tune carry you somewhere else. Tequila optional.
5. Look through old photos
I’m not saying to pull out your dreaded exe’s keepsake box from the back of the closet. But looking back on old, good memories helps you to get out of the cycle of negative thinking and into some positive thinking. I recently downloaded an app called 1SE, or the one second everyday app to help me make this easier. This app catalogues one second of photos or videos every single day for a designated period of time and slaps them all together into a movie to play back. You can customize the segments of video you use as well as the time frames. I have mine set for the year 2019, so at the end of the year I will have roughly six minutes of video showing me snapshots of every single day of the year I experienced. I’m about a month in, and here is what I have so far!
6. Meditate or practice deep breathing
Whether you are into yoga or not, meditation and deep breathing practices are a great way to keep your cool. When I practice deep breathing I center myself back into the present moment and out of the tailspin of what-if’s that tend to plague my mind during times of heightened stress. The best part about meditative breathing? It can take fifty minutes, five minutes or five breaths -- it’s really up to you and what your body needs.
7. The 5-4-3-2-1 Coping Technique
So the 5-4-3-2-1 technique is not a tactic for getting your toddler to do as you say, it is actually another great way to get your mind focused back on the present moment. The unfortunate truth of our super smart human brains is that anxiety is a normal and adaptive side effect of thinking. Where anxiety can often be a response to real danger, more often than not it is our brain’s response to random and sometimes insignificant thoughts. So here is a great coping technique when those thoughts run wild.
Start with breathing. Breathe in for 5 seconds, hold it for 5 and release it for 5. Do this until your breathing slows without actively trying. Now find five things that you see (the TV, a lamp post, your watch, etc,), find four things you can touch (your hair, your keyboard, etc.). Then find three things you can hear (the clock, your swallow), find two things you can smell, and finally, one thing you can taste (my favorite here is a mint). When you focus on these things, it brings you back into the present moment and grounds you in it.
Do you have any ideas for quick, easy, healthy ways to reset or boost your mood? We want to hear so we can share em! Make sure to comment below.